Comments on Nigel Tomes'
"Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery—
Analysis & Response"
In August of 2005, an article entitled "Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery—Analysis & Response" (henceforth, "the article") by Nigel Tomes (henceforth, "the writer") was written and published in response to Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery (henceforth, Publication Work), which was written by the blended co-workers in the Lord's recovery and published by LSM.
The article brashly impugned the blended co-workers in the Lord's recovery, denigrated LSM, and challenged the principle of the one publication work in the Lord's ministry as practiced by brothers Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. While it is the writer's right and liberty to have his own personal views and propositions, he presented in many instances a plethora of negative questions (1 Tim. 6:4) that elicited doubts and begot contentions (2 Tim. 2:23) rather than God's economy, which is in faith (1 Tim. 1:4). Moreover, the writer quoted Brother Lee's words extensively but often in a convoluted way and out of context to suit his purpose, obfuscating what Brother Lee said that could possibly impede the advancement of his own teaching. This polemic article has now been translated into various languages spread through continents both in print and on the Internet, impinging upon many unsuspecting saints, distorting their mind and disturbing their spirit, and most importantly, damaging the oneness of the Body of Christ.
I am one of the many who had for a moment been confounded by the article's crafty questions. I knew that there was something wrong with the contents but could not tell what it was. I also noticed the many intriguing contradictions and equivocations in the article but could not get my fingers on them. This made me delve into the Bible and the ministry books of Brothers Nee and Lee to get to the bottom of the truth. To my relief—or should I say—dismay, I discovered that the writer, while turning his back to the pertinent materials available, extrapolated his discordant beliefs and views beyond the bounds of human decency and honesty, to say the least. It seems the writer was sadly deluded and more sadly deluding.
The primordial motive of my comments is not to provide a critique to the entire article, much less to prove the writer's charges or defend against them. Rather, I seek to expostulate and bring to light the ambiguity, obscurity, and insidious deceptions that are interspersed in the article which I perceived the writer used to undercut the renewed call for one publication in the Lord's recovery. Here are my comments:
1. No Scriptural Basis?
A striking feature of the article is its avalanche of half-truths, contradictions, and ironies. At the beginning of his response, the writer impudently asserted that Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery offers no scriptural basis for its main proposition, but then right away tacitly acknowledged that there are indeed Bible verses presented in the documents: 1 Peter 5:2, Acts 20:28-29 ( Publication Work, p. 8), and 1 Corinthians 14:8 ( Publication Work, p. 3). Rather shrewdly, in order to drive home his point by innuendo, he alleged that the verses (1 Pet. 5:2 & Acts 20:28-29) refer only to the elders' shepherding and guarding of the flock and are not related to the sounding of the trumpet, and that the sounding of the trumpet (1 Cor. 14:8) refers only literally to speaking in tongues and has nothing to do with one publication. Thus, having dismissed all three Bible passages, the writer then conveniently deduced and proscribed Publication Work as "not based upon the Bible."
Let us briefly look at what the first two portions of the Word say:
1 Pet. 5:2 - Shepherd the flock of God among you, overseeing not under compulsion but willingly, according to God; not by seeking gain through base means but eagerly.
Acts 20:28-29 - Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God, which He obtained through His own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
In these verses the Apostle Paul reminded the elders that the church is precious to God, for He had obtained it through His own blood. Paul's word here indicates the precious love of God for the church and the preciousness and exceeding worth of the church in the eyes of God. Paul expected that the elders, as overseers, would treasure the church as God does. As those appointed by God to care for the flock of God, the elders need to love the church, taking care of it not by way of legality but by way of love and intimate concern. In the next verse Paul tells us why and how the elders should shepherd the churches:
Acts 20:30 - And from among you yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverted things to draw away the disciples after them.
Acts 20:28-30 shows us a picture at the time of the Apostle Paul as well as today, even just shortly after Brother Lee went to the Lord. Paul said that after his departure, not only would there be fierce wolves coming in from the outside to ravage the flock, but also some from among the believers themselves would rise up:
- Speaking perverted things,
- To draw the disciples after them.
Both the ravenous wolves from outside and the ones speaking perverted things who rise up from within are always used by the devil, who hates the church, to devastate it (Ezek. 22:27; Matt. 7:15). In this regard, the elders bear a particular responsibility to exercise oversight in protecting the local church and the saints under their care from the intrusion of unhealthy, dissenting, and destructive speaking and teachings (1 Pet. 5:1-2; Titus 1:7a, 9; Heb. 13:17).
That is why Brother Lee, with his vast Bible knowledge and experience, quoted both 1 Peter 5:2 and Acts 20:28-29 in his book entitled A Timely Trumpeting and the Present Need (composed of messages given in an elders' and co-workers' conference in 1988). The apostles' trumpeting is for the elders to receive the instructions and leading of the apostles (1 Tim. 3:14-15; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 20:17-18a, 28-32, 35). The apostles' trumpeting is for the elders to lead, shepherd, teach, and oversee the church (Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Pet. 5:2). The apostles' trumpeting is for the elders' shepherding and guarding of the flock in their administration of the local churches for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the organic Body of Christ (Eph. 4:12).
As shepherds of the flock of God (1 Pet. 5:2), the elders everywhere should indeed have a proper care for the churches with regard to publications, and they should guard the flock from things that could cause damage to them (Acts 20:28-30), particularly from different teachings (1 Tim. 1:3; 6:3) and vain talking (1 Tim. 1:6) that have emerged and are being proliferated through various dissonant publications.
In the light of the foregoing, it is a spiritual obligation scripturally entrusted to the elders to shepherd the flock. Why did the writer choose to be oblivious of these scriptural responsibilities of the elders as far as publication is concerned, and instead impute the Bible verses quoted in Publication Work as irrelevant?
(For more exhaustive writings in this regard, please refer to www.afaithfulword.org/articles/Scriptural.html.)
2. Brother Lee's Trumpeting Concerning One Publication
In 1 Corinthians 14, the Apostle Paul speaks concerning the excelling gift of prophesying for the building up of the church. In comparing prophesying with speaking in tongues, he gives a clear and definite view that speaking in tongues is much inferior to prophesying. He stressed that to prophesy in revelation or to teach in knowledge with clear, understandable words is more profitable to the church than to speak in tongues with unknown words. Take note that prophesying (which is speaking Christ, speaking for Christ, and speaking forth Christ) and speaking in tongues are both related to speaking. Speaking finds its source in teaching, and teaching is conveyed through publications. It is in this context concerning the proper speaking that builds up the church that Paul warns against uncertain sounding of the trumpet. Hence, the sounding of the trumpet is intrinsically related to our speaking, teaching, and publication.
Anyone and everyone who reads Publication Work would find right in the very first page of the booklet a long quotation from Brother Lee's ministry where he clearly stated that publication is the sounding of the trumpet. It is impossible to miss that. Let us look at this clear statement of Brother Lee regarding this matter:
We only had one publication. Everything was published through Brother Nee's Gospel Room because the publication is really the trumpeting. The sounding of our trumpet is not just in the verbal message but more in the publication. ( Publication Work, p. 3 quoting from Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 162) [emphasis added]
Brother Lee's words are palpably simple and clear: the publication is the trumpeting, and the trumpeting is in the publication. How could anyone who purports to analyze a document and respond to it intentionally and completely miss out the main quotation of the document? But curiously, the writer did just that! Guess why.
3. Brother Lee's Exhortation Concerning Being Restricted in One Publication
Also included in Publication Work is an excerpt of a ministry portion where Brother Lee spoke regarding being restricted in one publication, a part of which reads as follows:
One thing that has caused the Lord's recovery trouble is the fact that we have different publications. If we mean business for the Lord's recovery, we must avoid any kind of involvement in problems... I do not like to have another sounding. Our sounding must be one, so we must be restricted in one publication. ( Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , pp. 161-163) [emphasis added]
This is Brother Lee's succinct statement that calls for one sounding that is expressed in one publication. Why did the writer choose to bluntly obscure and ignore this quotation as though it has never been put into print? The plausible reason for this is obvious: the writer holds a divergent view and teaching concerning one publication but does not want his disagreement with Brother Lee on this matter exposed. From the above quotations, it cannot be denied that Brother Lee encouraged us to be restricted in one publication. On one hand the writer sought to challenge this, but on the other hand he desired to call on Brother Lee to buttress his defense (which I shall take up separately). All who have read the article should be able to tell that he is directly and aversely challenging Brother Nee and Brother Lee and not Brother Lee's co-workers and LSM, even though he only assailed LSM by name in his attack.
This should explain the reason why the writer chose to circumvent his direct opposition to Brother Lee's above-quoted straightforward speaking on the subject matter, and instead broached excessive, over-exaggerated "concerns" in a roundabout fashion that point directly back to Brother Lee's teaching and exhortation concerning one publication which differs from his.
Concerning different teachings, Brother Lee once said:
We may not think that this is serious, but actually it is more than serious. It kills people to teach differently. To teach differently tears down God's building and annuls God's entire economy. We all must realize that even a small amount of teaching in a different way destroys the recovery. ( Elders' Training, Book 3: The Way to Carry Out the Vision , p. 43) [emphasis added]
4. No Uncertain Sounding of the Trumpet in the Lord's Recovery
Let us first read the text of 1 Corinthians 14:8:
For also if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?
Is the "uncertain sounding of the trumpet" in 1 Corinthians 14:8 applicable only to speaking in tongues without interpretation as the writer claimed? In Book 7 of the Elders' Training series, Brother Lee covered the entire chapter 6 entitled, "No Uncertain Sounding of the Trumpet in the Lord's Recovery" based on only one main verse: 1 Corinthians 14:8! Surely Brother Lee was not at all fellowshipping about speaking in tongues in that message. While relating trumpeting to interpretation of tongue speaking, Brother Lee applied it to the Lord's ministry—the sounding of the trumpet for the army to go to war:
We may think an item like tongue speaking is too small for our consideration. As we have seen, another item that has been sounded is that there are two lines in the recovery. ( Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move , p. 75) [emphasis added]
Some of the so-called workers, the leading ones, like to think that they can take another line, not following the one line in the ministry. They may consider this and speaking in tongues without a definite interpretation small matters which we do not need to pay attention to. ( Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move , pp. 75-76) [emphasis added]
It is concerning the matter of speaking in tongues, something which we consider to be so small, that the Apostle Paul inserted this verse with the word "battle" in it. No one among us would consider a battle a small thing. An army that is fighting a battle needs the morale, a fighting unity. In order to maintain this morale even a little dissension concerning the smallest matter has to be killed. If that little dissenting talk is not killed, the morale will be annulled. There will be no more morale, and surely the army will lose the fight, the battle. This warns me concerning the seriousness of the Lord's ministry. The Lord's ministry is like the sounding of the trumpet for the army to go on to war (Num. 10:9; Judges 7:18). The Lord's ministry is a matter of a battle (2 Tim. 2:3 and notes 3(1) - Recovery Version. ( Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move , pp. 76-77) [emphasis added]
Again, Brother Lee's words are explicitly clear: the sounding of the trumpet is for the army to go to war. Uncertain sounding of the trumpet, even in as small a matter as tongue-speaking without interpretation, can affect an all-important war. As a corollary, if the uninterpreted, gabbled, and indistinct sounds of tongue-speaking can lead to an uncertain direction of the army, how much more the intelligible dissenting speaking can through different publications?
As previously pointed out, Brother Lee related this sounding of the trumpet to our publication, and exhorted us to be restricted in our publication. Has the writer completely missed these portions of Brother Lee's messages, or is he in fact accusing Brother Lee of "borrowing the illustration of trumpeting to a foreign context" as stated in the article?
5. The Church Being God's Fighting Army in the Battle
Brother Lee was relating all the aforementioned illustrations of trumpeting to the sounding of the trumpet in 1 Corinthians 14:8 and not any other trumpet in the New Testament that the writer may argue:
...[T]hrough my study I realized that in the New Testament the illustration of a trumpet being sounded to prepare others for battle is only used in 1 Corinthians. ( Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move , p. 76)
In the same message, Brother Lee indicated that the sounding of the trumpet is for the church - God's fighting army - to go to war:
We have to realize that the Lord's church today is a fighting army. We are doing something more serious than any battle on this earth. We are fighting against God's enemy, Satan. The church is God's army... The church is a universal and divine army fighting for God in the universe against His enemy. ...[W]e must realize that the church today is undertaking a universal war.... We are not undertaking a small battle merely for the United States or for the world. Our battle is universal. In Paul's speaking concerning the matter of interpretation of tongues, he considered that it was related to this universal battle that we are undertaking. In his talk concerning the interpretation of tongues, he used an illustration— the sounding of a trumpet for the battle. ( Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move , pp. 77-78) [emphasis added]
In the New Testament, the ministry is a life and service that takes the lead in the warfare against God's enemy (2 Cor. 6:7; 2 Tim. 2:3):
God would not send out trumpeters to sound different trumpets for His army to fight the battle (1 Cor. 14:8; Num. 10:9; Judg. 7:18). This would be confusion. God is wiser than this. He will raise up only one trumpeter to sound one calling, one voice, so that His people on the earth can march on. ( The Testimony of Jesus , p. 99) [emphasis added]
The work we are doing here is a spiritual warfare. We are not beating the air in vain with empty fists, nor are we running without a clear aim or goal. Our goal is the same goal as that of the apostle Paul and all those who have ministered throughout the ages: to build up the Body of Christ. We cannot have any work that divides the Body of Christ... I deeply believe that this is the proper way... The trumpet we are sounding here is the same trumpet sounded by the apostle Paul and by the saints throughout the ages. Our trumpet sound is in the one accord. From Taiwan to America, we have been sounding this trumpet for more than twenty years, and we will continue to sound this trumpet without changing our tune. ( Christ in His Excellency , p. 70) [emphasis added]
6. A War Against Different Teachings
The writer even sought to challenge whether or not Brother Lee's word about the need for a certain sounding of the trumpet in the Lord's ministry to lead the Lord's recovery in warfare still applies today as he asked an incredulous question afterward:
What "military campaign" is being currently waged which requires a "heavenly army"? ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes)
In the footnotes of 1 Timothy 1:18, which is Brother Lee's cross-reference verse to 1 Corinthians 14:8 in the Recovery Version, we see that:
To war the good warfare is to war against the different teachings of the dissenters and to carry out God's economy (1 Tim. 1:4) according to the apostle's ministry concerning the gospel of grace and eternal life for the glory of the blessed God (1 Tim. 1:11-16). ( Holy Bible Recovery Version, footnote 18 3 in 1 Timothy 1) [emphasis added]
Brother Lee pointed out that the blowing of just one trumpet is for the assembling of the leaders of Israel to go to war:
The blowing of just one trumpet was for the assembling of the leaders. "But if they blow only one, then the leaders, the heads of the thousands of Israel, shall assemble themselves to you." (Numbers 10:4) ( Life-study of Numbers , p. 120) [emphasis added]
Here in Numbers the sound of the trumpet was called an alarm because, in God's thought, the children of Israel were continually at war. At any time they could hear the alarm for fighting. When they moved, they moved in a fighting way. This signifies that our Christian walk, our Christian move, is a fighting move. However, quite often we have been negligent in this matter and have suffered as a result. Concerning certain moves, we suffered a great deal because we did not have the consciousness that we were in a battle. We are always at war, and therefore we should constantly be under the sounding of the alarm. ( Life-study of Numbers , pp. 120-121) [emphasis added]
The writer should know better than having to solicit an answer from us whether or not there is a battle to fight against the principalities of the air in preaching the gospel and against the dissenting ones on earth in their proliferation of differing teachings that damage the building up of the Body of Christ.
7. The Writer's "Alternative View"
Interestingly in his own word, the writer admitted that Brother Lee did call for all the saints and all the churches everywhere to be restricted in one publication when he repeated the blended co-workers' words:
The statement on Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery suggests that in 1986 brother Lee established a principle of "One Publication" which applies to all the saints and local churches from that time forward. Hence, according to this document, "All the saints and all the churches everywhere should similarly be restricted to one publication in the Lord's recovery." (p. 8) ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes)
But then immediately following these statements the writer responded by saying:
An alternative view that it was a "temporary expedient," can be briefly sketched: Brother Lee's speaking in 1986 addressed a particular situation existing at that time - it was "situation-specific." Moreover, Witness Lee had a particular status in the Lord's recovery and a special relationship to the local churches. Brother Lee's word was based upon his unique position - it was "person-specific". ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes, emphasis by the writer)
The above-cited quotations of the writer are his response to his outlined analysis earlier:
Did Brother Lee's call for "One Publication" establish a General Principle for all time or was it a Temporary Expedient? Put differently, was it a Situation-specific and Person-specific fellowship? ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes)
But as clearly seen, it was Brother Lee who called for the principle of one publication to be practiced among the saints and local churches; he made no exception of time, person, or place. He had not made any change in the principle, much less had he given us any alternative view or practice, or guidelines for changes in any way.
Anyone with a right spirit and proper heart for the oneness and the building up of the Body will, instead of trying to "put differently", endeavor to continue steadfastly in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles (Acts 2:42). The Greek word for "continue steadfastly" is proskartereo, which means to be strong towards (not opposite), to persevere in (not vacillate), and to attend continually upon (not against).
To continue steadfastly is to say that one follows the apostles' teaching and fellowship perseveringly without prescribing conditions to it. To continue steadfastly is when one drops his opinion and his different view and denies himself to follow the apostles' teaching and fellowship. To continue steadfastly is when one follows the apostles' teaching and fellowship not only in the apostles' presence but much more rather in their absence (Phil. 2:12).
The problem with the writer, as he himself admitted in his semantics, is that he holds an "alternative view" to that of Brother Lee and the blended co-workers. To hold an "alternative view" in this case is to hold a view that is diametrically different from that which we have received from Brother Lee and have closely followed (2 Tim. 3:10). An "alternative view", as we see here, is the outward expression of the inward differing opinion. Instead of continuing in the things which we have learned and have been assured of from Brother Lee (2 Tim. 3:14), the writer discriminately enunciated an extraneous variety of "conditions" like "temporary expedient", "situation-specific", and "person-specific", etc., to justify and bolster his different view and teaching that stands at odds against Brother Lee's teaching and practice concerning one publication.
It is not surprising Brother Lee had this clear-sighted statement:
Those who teach differently are not wise, for they do not know the environment, situation, and condition of the Lord's recovery. ( Elders' Training, Book 3: The Way to Carry Out the Vision , p. 130) [emphasis added]
In relation to "No Uncertain Sounding of the Trumpet," Brother Lee said concerning "opinion":
There is no uncertain sounding in the army. The ministry is not like the Senate. The ministry is not a Congress for anyone to come here to express his opinion. The ministry has no capacity for that. The ministry is altogether filled up with a fighting spirit... They can express their opinion, but they may have nothing to do with this ministry. ...[W]e must realize that the ministry is a fighting unit. In this fighting unit there is no capacity and no time for your opinion....
...Let us go to fight the battle. Who are the "us"? The ones who are desperate with no opinion. ( Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move , pp. 80, 83) [emphasis added]
Furthermore, Brother Lee warned against the different teachings and different opinions that damage the oneness:
...[A]ll of us need to realize that we are in the Lord's recovery. The first characteristic of the Lord's recovery is oneness. Once we lose the oneness, we are through. If we lose the oneness, we are no longer the Lord's recovery. Therefore, we need to see that there is a peril of different teachings and different opinions damaging the oneness.... Now I realize that the more we are going on, the more we are in a trend with a peril that opinions and different teachings may come in. Opinions may be good, and teachings may be scriptural, yet they may be different. Sooner or later, these matters will create a hidden division. The blessing that always comes down from God to His recovery is based upon the oneness (Psa. 133). If we lose the oneness, we will lose the blessing. ( Elders' Training, Book 1: The Ministry of the New Testament , p. 29) [emphasis added]
8. The Writer's Inconsistency and Feeling
I was made to wonder: if the writer is consistent in his insistence that Brother Lee's teachings and fellowship are "temporary-expedient", "situation-specific", and "person-specific", why did he cast himself as the "policeman" based on Brother Lee's fellowship in Truth Messages following the rebellion led by Brother M.R. way back in 1977-1978? This is what the writer said at the beginning of his analysis:
Shortly after that affair, Brother Lee charged "every local church must be a police station and every saint must be a policeman..." I feel that brother Lee's warning (quoted above) is applicable to our present situation. ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes, emphasis by the writer)
Take note that the writer said he "felt" that Brother Lee's call for a policeman is applicable to our present situation.
My question is: why is Brother Lee's call for "policemen" in the 1970s applicable now (as the writer said he "felt" so) but his call for "one publication" in the 1980s not applicable today (as the writer "viewed differently" so)? Is the applicability of Brother Lee's teaching and fellowship based on his personal subjective "view" and "feeling"? Is the "temporary-expediency", "situation-specific", and "person-specific" application determined by his views and feelings? What made him "feel" that Brother Lee's call for "policeman" during the rebellion in 1970s is applicable today? Is there a rebellion against Brother Lee's ministry today? The writer must have felt that there is one today, thus the "situation-specific" and "person-specific" call for "policeman" should apply.
Moreover, the issues addressed in Publication Work are based on Brother Lee's fellowship in the Elders' Trainings which began in 1984. If the writer "felt" that Brother Lee's fellowship concerning being restricted to one publication in the Lord's recovery was something that should be opposed, why did he not blow the whistle then? Instead, he disingenuously attempted to declare that Brother Lee's fellowship regarding one publication no longer applies without really considering the underlying reasons why that fellowship was given in the first place.
The crux of the matter is that the writer wanted us to believe that he subscribes to the teaching and fellowship of Brother Lee by quoting him to a great extent. But his writing exposes just how selective his adherence to Brother Lee's teaching and fellowship is; he applies them capriciously using his own "view" and "feeling" as the standard of interpretation and application of Brother Lee's teaching and fellowship. This surely appears to be a grave inconsistency of one who previously stressed that the Bible is our only standard in looking at the matter of one publication.
9. Did Brother Lee Want Us to be Restricted in One Publication?
Noticeably, the article crescendos with a subtle question with a built-in subtler answer. Let us firstly look at what Brother Lee said regarding the practice of one publication and being restricted to it:
Even though I wrote some books in mainland China, I never dared to publish anything by myself. I do not like to have another sounding. Our sounding must be one, so we must be restricted in one publication. My intention in calling a writers' conference was to encourage you to write something, but not in the way that came out. This fellowship may preserve and protect us from doing things lawlessly. ( Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 163) [emphasis added]
The synopsis of what Brother Lee said is lucidly simple: Brother Lee, at the time of the Elders' Training, was calling for one sounding of the trumpet in the Lord's recovery, and the way to achieve this is by being restricted to one publication. Afterwards, Brother Lee adverted briefly to the writers' conference which he had previously called that did not turn out the way he expected. Take note that Brother Lee used "was" when referring to the writers' conference. And by " this fellowship", he was referring to " being restricted in one publication", which is the main content of his fellowship then.
But look at how the writer twisted Brother Lee's words to obtrude upon his readers what he wanted them to believe:
If "we were restricted to one publication" why in the early 1980's did Brother Lee call a "Writers' Conference"? Brother Lee recalled later: "My intention in calling a writers' conference was to encourage you to write something...." (Witness Lee, Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 163). ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes, emphasis by the writer)
Unbelievable! By reading the statement, we are being led to believe that all along Brother Lee wanted us to continue writing and publishing on our own. The writer made us believe that Brother Lee called a writers' conference to show that he did not want us to be restricted to one publication. He twisted Brother Lee's statement to make it appear that Brother Lee was, at the time of the Elders' Training, calling a writers' conference by asking, " If we were restricted to one publication, why ... did Brother Lee call a 'Writers' Conference'?" The writer's deceitful intent in cutting Brother Lee's sentence in half by showing the first part: " My intention in calling a writers' conference was to encourage you to write something..." and shrouding Brother Lee's conclusion, " ... but not in the way that came out," is telling. The writer stealthily truncated Brother Lee's words and reversed the order to present something entirely opposite to the point Brother Lee was trying to make.
What is most incredible is that in an insidious attempt to further prevaricate the truth, the above-cited distortion of Brother Lee's words was audaciously repeated by the writer in his later article entitled, ironically, "Honesty in History: Against Historical Revisionism" (henceforth, "Honesty in History"). In this article, the writer called for honesty in presenting history and not to distort the record of history by what he called "historical revisionism". After examining the writer's own "honesty" to history, one is compelled to ask who in fact is the real historical revisionist, if this harsh term used by the writer should be applied to brothers at all.
10. Brother Lee's Comments Regarding Many Publications
The following quotations from Brother Lee's speaking from the same message in proper sequence further illustrate the fact that at the time the reference to the writers' conference was made, Brother Lee discouraged the practice of many publications:
I hate to see that some of the brothers would try to publish something by copying my points mixed with their "spices" and their "color." Why do they need to put out some points from my writings in this way? ( Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 162) [emphasis added]
It bothers me that some brothers among us still put out publications. According to my truthful observation there is no new light or life supply there. They may contain some biblical doctrines, but any point of life or light has been adopted from the publications of Living Stream Ministry. There is nearly no item of life or light that has not been covered by our publications. Based upon this fact, what is the need for these brothers to put out their publications? Because all the publications are mine, it is hard for me to speak such a word. But I am forced to tell the truth. By putting out your own publications, you waste your time and money. You waste the money given by the saints, and you waste their time in reading what you publish. Where is the food, the life supply, and the real enlightenment in the other publications among us? Be assured that there is definitely at least one major revelation in every Living Stream Ministry publication. ( Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 163) [emphasis added]
Even though I wrote some books in mainland China, I never dared to publish anything by myself. I do not like to have another sounding. Our sounding must be one, so we must be restricted in one publication. My intention in calling a writers' conference was to encourage you to write something, but not in the way that came out. This fellowship may preserve and protect us from doing things lawlessly. ( Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 163) [emphasis added]
Some are wasting their time by writing and publishing their own material. This is not their portion.... I advise all of you to take care of this matter. You have to swallow up the dissension. Do not let dissension eat you up. I hope this fellowship will render some help to all the churches. Take these principles, pray before the Lord, and consider the real situation in your locality.... ( Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 164) [emphasis added]
These words are a reconfirmation of what Brother Lee said earlier with respect to many publications:
Some brothers among us continually put out some publications. I was honest to tell them that there was no light and nothing new in what they put out. The points in our publications are full of life and light, but these brothers would not present them as they are. I could not understand why they have to change the messages we publish to present something in their own style and in their own way. There are no new points of life or light in what they publish. Any life or light in their material is altogether adopted from this ministry. ( Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 124) [emphasis added]
11. The Writer Questioned the Application for Practice of One Publication Today
The writer labeled Brother Lee's call for one publication as a "temporary expedient", "situation-specific", and "person-specific". So he asked:
Can the same call for "one publication" be made today? ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes)
By saying "the same call for one publication," the writer explicitly admitted that Brother Lee had called for the practice of one publication. But not willing to subject himself to the leading of the ministry to be restricted to one publication, he challenged the legality and necessity of such a call.
Only one who unfairly reads with shaded glasses will consider Brother Lee's references to his abandoning of his ministry in northern China to join himself to the Lord's work through Brother Nee as situation-specific. Moreover, Brother Lee's fellowship on the matter of one publication was spoken in an elders' training in the United States, not Taiwan. The damage to the oneness of the churches by brothers holding on to their own works and being unwilling to be blended with others was a persistent theme in those trainings. Clearly we are still struggling today to bring all of the churches into the God-ordained way, and we are still engaged in the universal warfare for God's interest.
12. The Writer Characterized the Practice of One Publication As Merely a Personal Practice
Then the writer stepped up his attack by broaching this at the end of the first paragraph of his critique of the scriptural basis of "one publication":
Rather than appealing to Scripture, brother Lee's personal testimony is cited as the basis for this practice (p. 3). ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes)
The writer did not tell us what is wrong about Brother Lee's personal testimony for it to be a point in question. Perhaps he did not want to be so bold. Nevertheless, the writer later formalized his pertinacious attack by saying:
Why has an informal, voluntary, personal practice among workers (Brother Lee and Brother Nee) become a teaching which is now a public policy, mandated upon the saints and the local churches? ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes)
Brother Lee frequently referred to his realization of the uniqueness of the divine stream in the Lord's ministry and how he dropped his own ministry in northern China to join himself to Brother Nee's ministry. The message "The Divine Stream" appeared in the first issue of the Stream magazine, the first publication put out by his ministry in United States. He repeated it at the beginning of the urgent elders' trainings starting 1984. His clear intention in sharing this testimony was to show us the way of the Lord's blessing and to appeal to the brothers bearing responsibility in the Lord's work to follow his pattern. For one who calls himself a co-worker in the Lord's recovery, the writer's disdainful characterization of this worthy pattern of Brother Lee as a mere "personal practice" undeserving of our following is a grave disservice and derision to our brother's ministry.
On the contrary, the authors of Publication Work are not only one in spirit with Brother Lee, the wise master builder of the age, but are also like-souled with him, reminding us of Brother Lee's practice in one publication as well as the apostle Paul's commendation of Timothy to the Corinthian believers that he "will remind you of my ways which are in Christ" (1 Cor. 4:17). In the New Testament, Timothy is a pattern of being one with the wise master builder by being like-souled with him (Phil. 2:19-20). The apostle Paul said that "he is working the work of the Lord, even as I am" (1 Cor. 16:10), despite his absence. Today, we are exercised to do the work of the Lord, even as Brother Lee did. Recognizing that he brought us into the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, we should take both his word and his practice to be one with him as the wise master builder in our age for the accomplishment of God's building.
13. Where Do We Find the Exogenous Words "Formal", "Insist", "Mandate", "Policy", "Policy Pronouncement", and "Policy Statement"?
After disparaging Brother Lee's practice and teaching with regard to the one publication, the writer went on with his onslaught of piddling questions, from which I will cite only one:
By promoting the "one publication" aren't the saints, local churches and elders being asked to insist "on something other than the common faith"? ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes) [emphasis added]
However, despite the rhetorical question, Publication Work explicitly states that the one publication "should not be insisted on":
The ministry is the sounding of the trumpet among us in the Lord's recovery, and there should be no uncertain sounding of this trumpet, as Brother Lee mentioned on a number of occasions. However, the one publication should not become the basis of our accepting or rejecting any persons in the communion of faith or in the fellowship of the churches; it should not be insisted on as an item of the faith. If any are not inclined to be restricted in one publication, these ones are still our brothers; they are still in the genuine local churches. ( Publication Work, p. 9) [emphasis added]
Throughout "Analysis & Response" the writer similarly introduces other foreign thoughts and terms: "policy pronouncement," "a public policy," "mandated," "a formal, publicly-mandated policy," "to a formal, mandatory publicly-mandated policy," and "issuing a policy statement" while ignoring the real content of Publication Work. These are the self-infused words introduced by the writer to Publication Work. None of these words was used or meant in Publication Work. Rather, Publication Work is just the blended co-workers' fellowship to the churches for their voluntary application according to the fellowship of Brother Lee. It makes it clear that whether or not a local church or an individual believer follow that fellowship or not does not affect their standing or being received in the fellowship of the Body.
Hence, it is totally unjust and inequitable for the writer to unduly interject these exogenous words into Publication Work and turgidly raise strings of piffling questions out of them, purportedly to bring out the truth, but in reality only obscured and distorted it.
14. How "Biblical" is the Writer's Own Article?
While accusing the Publication Work of presenting "no scriptural basis" of "one publication", how many scripture verses did the writer himself present in his article?
I probed the article and discovered that all through the length of his articulation, the writer quoted Brother Nee seven times, Brother Lee 14 times, and the Bible only twice, not to count of course the Bible verses that come with Brothers Nee's or Lee's quotes.
The article may be copious in human words and questionings, but sadly deficient in divine speaking. My point is: why did the writer fastidiously demand Biblical basis (in terms of only words that could be found in a Bible concordance) as support from the blending brothers' only quote of Brother Lee's fellowship regarding the one publication, but himself quoted Brother Lee fourteen times as much to support his own views not needing any Biblical basis to any quote? This is clearly a case of the writer's double standard in accepting and applying Brother Lee's speaking. Is it not ironic that he would oppose Brother Lee in the main issue and call on him repeatedly (with no questions asked) to buttress his side issues?
15. Relying on the Anointing
One of the Bible verses the writer supplied is 1 John 2:27. Let us pause to take a look at his series of trifling questions:
Is this policy pronouncement necessary? Where is our trust in the saint's ability to be before the Lord in their reading of spiritual publications? Where is our confidence in their ability to be taught and led by Christ? Wouldn't it be preferable to rely on "The Anointing which teaches all things." (1 John 2:27) ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes)
Most certainly, in the actual and practical experience of our Christian life we need the inner anointing and the experience of the inner life. This experience brings us to abide in Him (1 John 2:24, 27b; John 15:4-5) and in the fellowship of the divine life in the divine light (1 John 1:3, 6-7). This divine anointing teaches us and brings us not only into the fellowship with the Father but also into the fellowship with the apostles (1 John 1:2-3).
By questioning why the blending brothers did not leave the matter of one publication to the anointing, is the writer implying that Publication Work is not necessary as the anointing is here to replace all fellowship in writings? If that were the case, why would he advocate not one but many publications if these are not necessary? Why did he himself have to write, in the first place, to teach the saints what he felt and viewed is proper and what is not instead of just letting the saints discern by themselves according to the anointing?
To follow his advocacy, one now has to ask: Is the writer's "Analysis & Response" necessary? Where is his trust in the saints' ability to be before the Lord in their reading of Publication Work? Where is his confidence in their ability to be taught and led by Christ to respond in their spirit to the fellowship of one publication? Wouldn't it be preferable to rely on the anointing to analyze and respond to Publication Work than to read his "Analysis & Response"? Where is the writer's absoluteness for the truth and practice he just taught? Why did he not follow this principle when it comes to embracing the obvious implications of what he wrote? His action is certainly incongruous with his preferred principle. One cannot apply the truth both ways to suit his own purpose.
16. The Pattern of Fellowship in Acts 15
The only other portion of the Scriptures quoted by the writer is actually not a verse but a chapter with no verse mentioned in particular:
We may also ask whether issuing a policy statement is Scriptural? The only New Testament example is the "decree" of Acts 15. All the apostles and elders gathered in Jerusalem to decide the issue of circumcision and, having become of one accord, they issued a decree, a "policy statement" ... I suggest that Acts 15 stands in stark contrast to the present situation. Various gatherings of leading workers have discussed the "one publication" issue; however "one accord" has not been attained.... ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes) [emphasis added]
The writer described the Apostle James' conclusion of the co-workers and elders' conference in Acts 15 with eccentric words " issue a decree" and " a policy statement". None of these could be found in Acts 15 - not in word or in spirit. It is unscriptural even in the writer's own standard! Moreover, in making his argument on this point, the writer concealed from us two important points:
First, he did not tell us that of his own choice he did not participate in many of the gatherings of co-workers when the "one publication" issue was a subject of fellowship, which is in accordance to Acts 15.
Second, he did not tell us that he again reversed the sequence of the events and "revised" the history recorded in Acts 15. According to the pattern in Acts 15, the one accord is mentioned (vv. 22, 25, 28) after James announced his decision on the issue under consideration (vv. 13, 19), having heard the fellowship and testimonies of the other co-workers (vv. 7-12). It is not the other way around as the writer depicted to us. It is apparent that James' decision was subsequently put in print and sent out to the churches (vv. 22-31) where the brothers had "become of one accord" in the matter. The writer's implication, however, is that unless all of the co-workers agree by way of public consent, no decision can be reached. This is not the pattern shown to us in the Bible, or what has been practiced in the Lord's recovery (see The Elders' Management of the Church , pp. 123-128).
The one accord entails that some take the cross concerning their opinion by following the leading co-workers with prayer and without pride and self-interest. This is what we see in the pattern of fellowship in Acts 15. What we do not see in Acts 15 or anywhere else in the Bible or in the pattern of our brothers Nee and Lee is the public display of dissenting opinion like the way the writer did through his article against one publication.
(For more detailed analysis of Acts 15 from the footnotes and ministry books of Brothers Nee and Lee, please refer to " An Application of and Deviation from the Pattern in Acts 15" on www.afaithfulword.org.)
17. Why is "One Publication" Not Mentioned in The Beliefs and Practices of the Local Churches Published in 1978?
The writer also called on the co-workers in the Lord's recovery who authored the booklet entitled The Beliefs and Practices of the Local Churches (henceforth, Beliefs and Practices) to support his quest against the "one publication":
The booklet, The Beliefs and Practices of the Local Churches (issued by "the Co-workers in the Lord's Recovery" in 1978) contains no reference to the 'one publication.' ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes, emphasis by the writer)
He pressed the issue further in the article and in his follow-up article:
In the interests of historical accuracy, may I inquire, (prior to 1986) were the saints in North America taught to confine themselves to one publication, materials published by LSM? If so, why does the document, The Beliefs & Practices of the Local Churches (issued in 1978 by the "co-workers in the Lord's Recovery") contain not even a single reference to "one publication"? ("Honesty in History," Nigel Tomes, emphasis by the writer)
Take note of the writer's enclosed dates: "prior to 1986" and "issued in 1978". The writer initially questioned if we can find "one publication" in The Beliefs and Practices of the Local Churches published in 1978. Since the book was published in 1978, the answer is certainly "No!"
In like manner, if I look in Beliefs and Practices for radio broadcasting, Bibles for America, the God-ordained way, begetting/nourishing/teaching/building, gospel/home/groupings/districts, door-knocking, crystallization-study, all-inheriting vision of the age, high peak truth, processed God, consummated Spirit, all-inclusive life-giving Spirit, mingled spirit, building and builded God, pneumatic Christ, sevenfold intensified Spirit, reality of the Body of Christ, God's dispensing, saturation, permeation, transmission, sonize, Christify, Jesusly-human, judicial redemption, organic salvation, full ministry of Christ, divine and mystical realm, organic union, blending, divine-human incorporation, ultimate consummation and so on and so forth, the answer is also "No!" I do not expect to find everything in one single book, especially if the book is printed before the word I was looking for had ever been spoken.
The writer is also questioning if the saints in North America were "taught" to confine themselves in their writing to one publication before 1986. First, I would point out that Brother Lee's word was not just for North America but was given in an international training of elders. Second, the example and pattern was there before 1986 for all to learn of and follow, but the expressed public correction to the behavior of some lawless workers publishing different teachings was not required until 1986.
Having seen the above, I believe it is only befitting to assert that the writer's fallacious inquisition as to whether or not "prior to 1986" (the date provided by the writer himself) the churches were taught to practice one publication, and why the Beliefs and Practices "issued in 1978" (date provided by the writer himself) did not contain 1986's correction concerning the "one publication" is downright ludicrous.
18. Did Brother Nee Teach "One Publication"?
As one who is espoused to the principle and practice of many different publications in the Lord's recovery against the practice and fellowship of Brother Lee, the writer ironically sought refuge with Brother Nee:
Did brother Nee ever teach the principle of "one publication"? Was such a "policy," publicly proclaimed in mainland China?...Did brother Nee ever do this? Did he ever teach this? It seems to me that the present policy document is without historical precedent in the Lord's recovery. ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes, emphasis by the writer)
In brother Nee's era was there a teaching of "one publication?" ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes, emphasis by the writer)
May we ask, was there such an established "policy," proclaimed in writing and conveyed to all the saints in mainland China? Where is the historical precedent for this "policy declaration" in Watchman Nee's work in mainland China or Witness Lee's work in Taiwan? We know of none!" ("Analysis & Response," Nigel Tomes, emphasis by the writer)
Interestingly, the writer himself provided what he thought is a safe answer to all of the abovementioned questions that he just raised: "We know of none!" Yes, but he knows of none does not mean we all know of none. Even if we knew of none, that would not necessarily mean there was none. We might know of none because we were not there in Brother Nee's era when he was speaking. We might know of none because not everything that Brother Nee spoke during his time was put in print. Brother Lee explicitly said:
Brother Nee had many direct talks with me about this matter of teaching the Lord's word.... I received much help from him because he told me many things. Brother Nee had so much of the truth deposited in him that never was put into print. Piles and piles of his manuscripts were destroyed by the Communists when they took over mainland China. I would say that less than one-third of what Brother Nee spoke was put into print. ( Elders' Training, Book 9: The Eldership and the God-ordained Way (1) , p. 57) [emphasis added]
At least one thing we do know from the writer's own quote above is that Brother Nee worked hand in hand with Brother Lee in one publication and Brother Lee was not stopped from his practice of submitting himself in one publication with Brother Nee. There is no evidence that Brother Lee was encouraged to carry out his own publication work. As the writer himself later admitted, it was a practice "among co-workers" (referring to Brothers Nee and Lee). Hence, the one publication is not only Brother Lee's own personal practice but also Brother Nee's. Brother Nee's action speaks louder than words.
Up to this point, to equate Brother Nee's seeming verbal silence regarding the teaching of one publication to his teaching against it is an extremely precarious if not forthright preposterous assumption. By overemphasizing what he thought is Brother Nee's silence, is the writer insinuating that Brother Lee was teaching and practicing differently from Brother Nee? In this regard, Brother Lee said:
Whatever the saints saw of me, my behavior, my way of living, my actions, the way I worked, my messages, and my speaking, they all considered to be absolutely one with Brother Watchman Nee. I did not leave any loopholes for anyone to think that I was different from Brother Nee. ( Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move , p. 85) [emphasis added)]
While I was ministering the word, I often considered Brother Nee. I considered what he spoke; I did not like to speak anything which was contradicting with his ministry. If I had spoken in a contradicting way, where would the recovery be today? We must know the Body. ( The Issue of the Dispensing of the Processed Trinity and the Transmitting of the Transcending Christ , p. 91) [emphasis added]
Actually, if there is anyone on this earth who knows Brother Nee, I must be that one.... If anyone says that my work is different from Brother Nee's, he is an outsider with regard to the vision. ( The Vision of the Age , p. 80) [emphasis added]
The greater part of my work is a continuation of that of Brother Watchman Nee. It was the Gospel Book Room that served him in his ministry. Besides that, no one else served him and his ministry. ( Words of Training for the New Way, Vol. 1 , p. 34) [emphasis added]
Through all these responsibilities, a tremendous opportunity was opened to me to learn how to work for the Lord in His recovery, how to help others grow in life, how to build the church with life, and how to care for the publication ministry. ( Watchman Nee: A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age , p. 300) [emphasis added]
Allow me to follow through with the writer's line of outlandish questions with some of my own: Did Brother Nee teach the practice of "calling on the name of the Lord" and "pray-reading" to enjoy the Lord? We know of none! Does the writer agree with Brother Lee's teaching of this practice even though it cannot be found in our reading of Brother Nee's messages? Can he therefore infer that Brother Lee's teaching differs from Brother Nee's? Let him so confirm.
Paradoxically, Brother Lee clearly said:
I never uttered anything in my ministry that Brother Nee did not preach, and I did not teach anything that he had not touched. ( Elders' Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord's Move , p. 83)
Assuming that we have not heard or read from Brother Nee regarding the teaching of one publication, yet we certainly heard and read it from Brother Lee, and Brother Lee said he never uttered what Brother Nee did not preach or teach anything that Brother Nee had not touched. Is Brother Lee's word not enough? Why did the writer think that it is insufficient? I appreciate Brother Lee's practice of one accord in this matter and I believe his word. Are we to believe Brother Lee or the writer? I find it particularly amazing why the writer would trudge and rummage through what he cannot seem to find in Brother Nee's writings but turn deaf and blind to Brother Lee's clear speaking in print? His continued farcical search for Brother Nee's confirmation of Brother Lee's speaking should give us real concern if the writer's up-to-date vision and practice is dated only up to Brother Nee's era and not Brother Lee's.
19. Brother Nee Did Teach "One Publication"!
The truth is that, contrary to what the writer wanted us to surmise, Brother Watchman Nee is not "silent" concerning the matter of "one publication"! As early as September 8, 1948 during the first co-workers' training in Kuling, China, Brother Nee had given a series of messages instructing the co-workers concerning the nature of the work. In a message entitled, "The Work in Kuling and the Work throughout China," Brother Nee indicated that the literature work should be a separate unit of the work to be based in Shanghai and in Shanghai only. This shows that there was invariably only one publication work in the Lord's recovery in mainland China even during Brother Nee's time:
8.) The literature work: The literature work, such as the publishing of books and periodicals, is considered a separate unit of the work. Such works are handled by Shanghai. ( The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 60 , p. 362) [emphasis added]
In that message Brother Nee continued to mention the "literature work" five more times:
The need for the literature work is great. "The Ministers" is for news and reports on the work.... The literature work is not the work of the High Priest but the work of the Levites.... Brother James should stay with us to participate in the literature work.... Those who are involved in the literature work must be very diligent. They cannot be lazy.... Brother Chou Shing-yi and Brother James should give themselves to this literature work. ( The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 60 , pp. 365-366) [emphasis added]
The "literature work" that Brother Nee mentioned repeatedly is singular in number. This strengthens the fact that although there were many literary works and tasks, yet there was only one literature work. That there was only one literature work in China means there was one and only one publication in China during Brother Nee's time. Inferring it otherwise is something beyond the pale.
This is confirmed by Brother Lee himself in his various testimonies, stressing that in Brother Nee's time, there was only one publication work that was carried out and under Brother Nee's oversight:
Prior to 1952, all the literature work was done by Brother Nee. ( The Glorious Vision and the Way of the Cross , p. 29) [emphasis added]
The Lord's recovery was raised up in China through Brother Nee's teaching for exactly thirty years, from 1922 through 1952. In those thirty years there was no one else who put out the New Testament teaching. ( The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way , p. 34) [emphasis added]
When we were on mainland China, only Brother Nee had a publication, and the Gospel Room belonged solely and uniquely to him. ( Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 161) [emphasis added]
He asked me to help in the publication work. I did write some books... I never published anything by myself. I always mailed my manuscript to the Gospel Room, which was under Brother Nee and his helper. ( Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , pp. 161-162) [emphasis added]
We only had one publication. Everything was published through Brother Nee's Gospel Room. ( Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 162) [emphasis added]
Even though I wrote some books in mainland China, I never dared to publish anything by myself. I do not like to have another sounding. ( Elders' Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord's Present Move , p. 163) [emphasis added]
But in spite of the clear speaking of Brother Nee reflecting his teaching of the one publication work which was practiced among the local churches in the whole of mainland China, the writer still insolently put forth his cannonade of quibbling questions, stirring up doubts as to whether or not Brother Nee had taught and practiced one publication in China. This is such a devious duplicity on his part to all the saints in the Lord's recovery.
Furthermore, to counter the pattern of the practice in the ministry of Brother Nee and Brother Lee, the fellowship of Brother Nee concerning the one literature work in mainland China, and the testimony of Brother Lee concerning Brother Nee's leading in the publication work and the singularity of that work in mainland China, the writer offers us no teaching, no practice, no testimony, and no fellowship on the part of either Brother Nee or Brother Lee to vindicate his claim that the practice of "one publication" is somehow foreign to the historic practice of the ministry in the Lord's recovery. Indeed, if the writer's "argument from silence" can and should be made, it is the absence of any endorsement of multiple publications which indicates that there is no precedent in the practice and leadership of either Brother Nee or Brother Lee in carrying out the ministry in the Lord's recovery for multiple and even competing publication works.
The important question is: Is the writer truly ignorant of Brother Nee's speaking that points unmistakably to one publication work or is he in fact obfuscating it from unsuspecting dear saints who follow steadfastly the teaching and fellowship of Brothers Nee and Lee in order to promote his own different teaching in relation to "one publication"? In either case, his actions are totally unconscionable. From the many instances that were pointed out in this comment, we already saw how the writer has deviated far from the teaching of Brother Lee. In similar fashion, the writer again misrepresented Brother Nee by citing him to great length, ostensibly to portray himself as one who subscribes faithfully to Brother Nee's ministry, but he is in fact found wanting in truthfulness when the article is put under careful scrutiny in the light of the Word and under the lens of Brother Nee. The writer's affected earnestness in repeatedly invoking Brother Nee's ministry does not in any way extenuate the fact that he has not only intrinsically deviated from the ministry of Brother Lee, but from the ministry of Brother Nee as well.
In view of the writer's obstinate and exorbitant skepticism and his wide-ranging criticism of "one publication" as taught and practiced by Brothers Nee and Lee, his faithlessness to the ministry of Brothers Nee and Lee through his pervasive deviations from it is an inescapable conclusion. Hence, the views and teachings contained in the article and his other writings reflect nothing more than his own differing views and teachings. In his own admission at the end of the article, the writer stated that "these are the author's personal views and not necessarily those of the saints, workers, elders and churches with whom [he is] associated." Most certainly, that list of exceptions includes Brothers Nee and Lee, from whose ministry he has turned away and whose teaching he is not worthy to represent in his writings due to his dissenting and differing views from theirs as seen in this disquisition.
I lay my comments before the Lord and before the saints. I believe I do not only express the voice within me but also that of many saints who have read Brother Tomes' articles. The words of Brothers Nee's and Lee's ministry over the years remind us that there should be one publication among us. It serves not only as a testimony of our oneness in the Body but also a safeguard for the unique ministry in the Lord's recovery. May we all be protected from the winds of teaching (Eph. 4:14) by being nourished with the words of faith and of the good teaching (1 Tim. 4:6) and not be carried away by various strange teachings (Heb. 13:9) that are aimed at distracting us from the oneness and one accord which are necessary for the building up of the Body of Christ.
To conclude my comments on the article, let me excerpt from the writing of Brother David Ho in his article on www.afaithfulword.org entitled, " Thoughts on the One Publication Work in the Lord's Recovery," upon which this writing is built:
Finally, I would be remiss to not comment on the timing of these criticisms. One publication is not new among us. It is part of our heritage. Why weren't these criticisms raised a decade ago during Brother Lee's final year with us? Why not two decades ago during the landmark international elders' training? I tread cautiously here, but I do not think that Brother Nigel and the "Concerned Brothers" would go to such lengths just so that we can have Zondervan or Intervarsity Press publications among us. I wish the brothers would be forthright in declaring not just what they oppose, but also what they support. Such candor would assist the saints' consideration of this matter. Perhaps it might also help hasten the day when all the gifts to the Body will operate and supply the Body according to their measure and function. This is my prayer.
—Joseph Dy, Philippines, May 20, 2006